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Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Friday, March 10, 2000

Phone number on
check causes worry

Question: I have been trying to contact the manager of the Phone Mart in Pearl Ridge concerning my check. I pay my bill by check. The cashier wrote my telephone number on my check. I asked her why she did that and she stated, "Don't worry, it will just go to the billing department." This same check will go to my bank, and then they'll have access to my unlisted and blocked number, which I pay for. I'm a very private person and not even my bank has my number. How can this be remedied?

Answer: By using your GTE account number.

The usual practice is to write a customer's phone number on a check to ensure that a payment is credited to the right account, said GTE spokesman Keith Kamisugi.

However, protecting a customer's privacy also is important, he said, apologizing that the procedure caused you to feel that your privacy was violated. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve our procedures," Kamisugi said, and suggested the alternative.

Upon request, GTE will use a customer's 18-digit account number on a check payment instead of a phone number. This is the number printed just below the telephone number on your bill.

"We ask that a customer write their account number on their check or bring their bill stub with them when they visit the Phone Mart," Kamisugi said.

Q: I recently lost a close family member on the mainland. I am fortunate to have transportation provided. I rarely get to visit family and will be there three weeks, but found out the area I am going to does not have the EBT program. How do I receive my food stamp benefits under these circumstances?

A: There shouldn't be much of a problem since "most states are interoperable" in terms of accepting EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards, said a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services' EBT Office.

Most states are "moving toward interoperability," but even in states that are not, major supermarket chains can handle EBT transactions, she said.

Contact your caseworker or call the customer service number on the back of your card. If the area you are going to absolutely will not accept the card, you may be able to cash out some benefits.


I was born and raised in Hawaii and was always around kindness and people willing to lend a helping hand. That's why I'm writing this. On Friday, Feb. 25, my mom, who was baby-sitting, paged me, saying my 2-year-old daughter had a fever. She gave her Tylenol. About 9:45 p.m., I left Mililani to take my baby and 9-year-old son home to Royal Kunia. As we passed the interchange from H-2 to H-1, my baby began convulsing. I pulled over to the side of the road, just before the Waikele cut-off. Screaming and crying, I ran up and down the side of the freeway with baby in my arms, flagging down cars. For two minutes, my son and I waved our hands, shouted "help" and "stop," but no one stopped. No one stopped to help us! When I realized we were on our own, I instructed my son to hold baby in the back seat while I drove to St. Francis Hospital West. My baby is all right now, although we have to do extensive testing to find out what caused her seizure. But it makes me so sad that a woman holding a limp baby in her arms and her 9-year-old son, screaming and waving on the side of the freeway, couldn't get anyone to pull over and help. Why didn't anyone help us? Where was the aloha? -- No name

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
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